Monday, April 19, 2010

Yesterday Today Tomorrow

BUEA Cameroon - One year ago Trixy and I were in Buea Cameroon, deciding our future. That future is now, can you believe it?! We have been in Cameroon going on 21 weeks. That is about four times longer than I have ever been out of the country before. (Of course Trixy spent six months in Tanzania before she went to med school).

A year ago on the 15th we were in Paris. Now, thanks to a volcano in Iceland, Europe - or at least most of Europe - is not reachable by plane. Getting to the USA, now means finding alternative routes. One never quite knows what the future will bring.

We live on an active volcano. It is said to be one of the largest and most active volcanos in Africa, last erupting in 2000. Of course generally, I understand, earthquakes precede an eruption and we have had no earthquakes -- yet.

In light of Haiti we wonder about the construction of our hospital, let alone all the other buildings now and in the future. We certainly hope our single story home and clinic - built nearly 40 years ago - are sturdier than modern construction.

While the threat of earthquakes, eruptions, and lava flows remains and is higher than most other places in Africa, we are more likely to be ravaged by infectious diseases. (Sadly I can't seem to find that link at this time). There was a case of Yellow fever right here in Buea last fall. Though the most recent cases were in the West Region (we are in the South West Region). Second to infections diseases is the concern over food security. This doesn't mean so much about locking food up and having it in storage, as it means uninterrupted access to food. This takes into account the ability of the region's population to grow or purchase food without the threat of interruptions due to drought, civil unrest, or economic conditions.

We are unaware of any local, regional or national disaster preparedness. We have not yet developed our own plan (Public Health students - any takers? I will happily do what I can on this end to answer questions. If you want to make a journey here we'd be happy to put you up for a visit).

Living in Cameroon confirms what I suspected. "Control" is a nice word and pleasant belief and hope we have - but not a reality. Plan? Sure, but who really knows what the future will bring? About the best we can do is live today. That is a huge struggle for me - an avowed futurist who dreams of potentials and possibilities.